Nike, Tag Heuer suspend ties with Maria Sharapova

mspNEW YORK: US sportswear maker Nike said Monday it was halting its relationship with Maria Sharapova, after the tennis star announced she had tested positive for a banned substance.

“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues?”

Meanwhile, Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer is also dropping its sponsorship of Sharapova, after the Russian tennis star said she had failed a drug test.

“Maria Sharapova was under contract with TAG Heuer until December 31, 2015. We had been in talks to extend our collaboration.

“In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract,” the unit of French luxury goods group LVMH said in a statement.

Russia tennis chief still expects Sharapova to play at Olympics

Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev expects Sharapova to represent her country at this year’s Olympics in Brazil despite being provisionally suspended from the game after testing positive for a banned substance.

Five-time grand slam champion Sharapova said on Monday she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January because of a substance, meldonium, she was taking for health issues.

“I think this is just a load of nonsense,” Tarpishchev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation, said in an interview with the TASS news agency.

“The sportsmen take what they are given by the physiotherapists and by the doctors. I think Sharapova will play at the Olympics, however, we will need to see how this will develop.” -Agencies

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